Recently there has been a flurry of litigation contesting laws that prohibit sex offenders from accessing social media. Most of the litigation has been brought by the American Civil Liberties Union. The ACLU has argued that such a ban interferes with free speech, legitimate information gathering and freedom of expression, association, assembly and press. There is no dispute that these laws have an honorable purpose in the protection of children from sexual predators. However, they have been deemed to be overbroad. The states where these laws have been found to be unconstitutional already have laws that prohibit solicitation by computer, cyberstalking, requirement that sex offenders provide online identifiers as part of their registration with the local law enforcement. In North Carolina it is a felony to not tell law enforcement of your online identifier.
The courts in Indiana, Nebraska, Georgia, Utah, California, North Carolina and Louisiana have all struck down these types of laws over the last couple of years. The courts uniformly commented that the overbroad nature of these statutes would prohibit offenders from going on such benign sites as foodnetwork.com or even Amazon.com. The courts were also concerned about being able to engage in anonymous political debate and dealing with embarrassing medical issues online such as an anonymous post to a hospital website seeking information. The bottom line is that social media is an indispensable part of our society and to ban sex offenders from using is not allowed.
The United States Supreme Court has not been heard from on this issue, and that is the next logical step. However, there have been no requests made of the Court to decide this issue.
Michigan Criminal Defense Attorney with experience in constitutional matters
When you ask a criminal defense attorney why he/she practices criminal law one of the most frequent answers is so they can make sure constitutional rights are protected. As Voltaire said, “it is better to risk saving a guilty man than to condemn an innocent one.” A criminal defense must be a creative thinker and passionate about the constitution. The attorneys at LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. are those lawyers. Our lawyers have decades of experience representing people faced with criminal charges on both the state and federal level. If you, or someone you know, is dealing with a criminal charge, or anticipating one might be brought, please contact the attorneys at LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. at (248) 263-6800 to discuss your options or complete a Request for Assistance Form
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